Zaid: I’m not angry, just disappointed with ‘arrogant’ DAP leaders

Zaid Ibrahim has defended his description of DAP as a Chinese party.

KUALA LUMPUR: Saying he has a natural talent for courting controversy, with regards to a tweet which he said had been misunderstood, DAP member Zaid Ibrahim today said things that will attract even more criticism.

He said in a blog post that he was not angry with DAP for not fielding him as a candidate in the coming general election, only disappointed. Zaid then went on to say he was unhappy with the attitude shown by the DAP leadership, even going to the extent of calling it “arrogant”.

The former minister said when he tweeted, last week, that a Chinese party had made known its ministerial candidates (from their members contesting in Ayer Hitam and Teluk Intan), and lamented that the Malay parties in Pakatan Harapan had remained quiet about theirs, he was merely pointing out the difference in behaviour between the Chinese and the Malays. The former, he said, openly expressed whom they wanted as ministers but the Malays tended to be shy and reticent.

He said he was criticised by people for making this statement, with some calling him a racist and others saying he had said this in retaliation against DAP for not selecting him as a candidate.

“Firstly, calling DAP a Chinese party is not the same as saying DAP is a racist party. Sometimes, when we describe Gerakan as a Chinese party or Umno as a Malay party, we are making a largely accurate description of both. It’s true that Gerakan has some non-Chinese members and Umno has some Kadazans, but ethnically they are largely monolithic in character. Why then, is calling DAP a Chinese party offensive?”

“Secondly, I was not at all angry with DAP for not fielding me as a candidate. Disappointed yes, but not to the extent of wanting to retaliate in the way some people thought I was doing with my tweet.”

Zaid said he had been offered the Gelang Patah seat 12 months ago by DAP, but that three months later he was told the offer was “conditional on something else”. He did not say what the condition was.

“It was later withdrawn. Then a second-liner in the DAP leadership told me that I could go to Bentong if I was interested. I said it was not a constituency that was suitable for me. I am not a giant killer and have limited resources since I have been unemployed for the last eight years.

“There was total silence on the subject of the election and seat allocation in the last six months. In fact, I was not very involved in the party’s activities. When I sent a text message on March 27 this year to the party’s key men to ask if there would be any seat for me to contest, I was not even granted the courtesy of a reply. So it’s not the issue of not having a seat that bothered me, but the attitude that was shown.”

Using what happened to him as an example, Zaid extrapolated that what was lacking in the Malay-Chinese relationship at the political level was the right balance of civility and respect.

“The problem with MCA was that they became too compliant and submissive in their relationship with Umno, and that’s why they lost the support of the Chinese. I am now equally convinced that the arrogance of the DAP leadership will never secure them deep Malay support. Somewhere in between lies the right balance that I was trying to find.

“Anyway, I hope DAP leaders do not try to prolong this matter and stop telling people that I was offered a seat which I then refused.” Zaid said he, too, would not broach this subject again, adding the important thing was for solidarity to ensure victory for the opposition.